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How Air Force Chief, Amosu, others moved N3bn from NIMASA, witness tells Court

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NIMASA

A prosecution witness, Okechukwu Akubue, on Tuesday, told Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd) and others diverted the N3billion which the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, transferred to the Nigeria Air Force, NAF Special Emergency Operations Account domiciled in Zenith Bank, personal use under Amosu.

The EFCC had dragged Amosu, alongside Air Vice Marshall Jacobs Adigun,  a former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budget, and Air Commodore Owodunni Olugbenga, a former NAF Director of Finance and Budget, to court for allegedly diverting N21billion belonging to the NAF.

All defendants mentioned in the amended 13-count charge to have pleaded “not guilty”.

During cross-examination by the prosecuting counsel, Suleiman Suleiman, the witness, an operative of the EFCC, revealed the outcome of the investigation and analysis of Exhibit A3 before the Court, identified as the bank statement of the NAF Special Emergency Operations Account domiciled in Zenith Bank.

At the last sitting on January 18, 2021, the witness told the Court that the bank statement was part of the responses to letters of investigation sent to several financial institutions by the EFCC in the course of the investigation.

He had told the Court that the credit of N1billion from NIMASA to NAF on 28th of August 2014, according to a Memorandum of Understanding between the two bodies was disbursed to support the NAF in protecting Nigeria’s waterways.

On Tuesday’s sitting, Akabue said:

“Further to the N1billion credit inflow from NIMASA, we found a debit of N4, 801,549 on behalf of Hebron Housing and Property, a company linked to the second defendant by way of ownership.

“The Ecobank account in which the money was credited is also owned by the second defendant and the fund was not utilised for the NAF but for the benefits of the defendants”.

He added the sums of N228,000,000 debited from the NAF account in favour of Rite Options Oil and Gas, on 2nd of September 2014; N336,000,000 in favour of the same company on the same day; N165,790,000 on 4th of September 2014 in favour of Juda Oil Limited, with another N170,210,000 on the same day.

“Investigating the transaction in favour of Rite Options Oil and Gas, we invited for questioning the owner of the company, Adedeji Adelakun.

“In the course of interrogation, he admitted that he was not into oil and gas business, but that he was a bureau de change dealer.

“Adelakun further confessed that the money in question was not utilised for the services of NAF, but that he converted same to United States Dollar and gave to Olufunke Osisanmi, a staff of Zenith Bank on the instruction of the defendant,” he said.

With regards to Juda Oil Limited, Akubue told the Court that the owner of the company, Mohammed Sani was also invited for questioning.

He said: “Mohammed admitted that he did not provide any service for the NAF, but that he rather changed the money to United States Dollar and gave same to NAF officers nominated by the defendant.”

According to Akubue, the NAF also got another N1billion from NIMASA on September 15, 2014.

He noted that following the credit, several debits were made, including N258,693,520.78 on September 16, 2014, in favour of Delfina Oil and Gas;

N261,416,480.92  on September 16, 2014, in favour of McAllam Oil and Gas, which also got another N235,970,883.66, and N243,919,114.64 in favour of Delfina Oil and Gas on September 17, 2014.

Akubue further revealed that these two companies, were owned and controlled by the second defendant, and like Rite Options Oil and Gas, and Juda Oil Limited, they had no contractual agreements with the NAF.

The witness told the Court that there was another lodgment of N1billion from NIMASA on September 23, 2014.

“Following the lodgment, N146, 298,479.31 was debited in favour of Lebol Oil and Gas, which on the same day, also got N153, 701,520.69,” he said.

Akubue noted that narrations in the statement of account showed that Lebol Oil and Gas also got N135, 219,625.27; N185, 880,374.73; N186, 410,750.12 and N168, 489,249.88 all on September 24, 2014.

The company, which he said was owned by one Adamu Musa, a BDC operator, also got N162, 715,233.52 and N161, 284,766.48 all on September 25, 2014.

“Under interrogation, Musa confessed that the company had no contractual agreements with the NAF and that the funds were changed to United States Dollar and given to agents nominated by the defendant,” he said.

Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke adjourned the case until April 12, 15 and 20, 2021.

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